My most vital piece of equipment on the Atlantic was my watermaker. Yesterday I went to see where it was made, and to meet the President of Spectra Watermakers, Bill Edinger, himself a keen yachtsman.
It was immensely reassuring to see the rigorous testing that the watermakers go through before they leave the factory. My Spectra served me well throughout my 103-day crossing.
My only worry now is that I'd never had to 'pickle' a watermaker before (i.e. run chemicals through it to stop green stuff growing in it while it's not being used) and I may not have been at my most compos mentis when I attempted it for the first time in Antigua. So when I retrieve Sedna in Miami in a couple of weeks, I may have a small ecosystem where my water-purification plant used to be...
Today I was drafting some new content for my website (yet to go live) and was jotting down my Code of Conduct for blogging. There is one particular element of it that is causing major frustration at the moment: 'Don't make forward-looking statements'.
Right now is a very exciting stage of my plans to row the Pacific - having spent most of the last 3 months building my network in the US, assembling the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, those pieces are now falling into place unbelievably quickly, and I am SO EXCITED about it!
But alas, it is all still forward-looking, and I don't want to jinx it by going to press prematurely. So much as it irks me, I will bite my tongue and bide my time and just tease you by saying that good things are afoot, and I'd love to tell you, but I'd have to shoot you....
By way of infill while the jigsaw puzzle gets itself together, here are my self-imposed blogging guidelines.
"My goal in blogging is to inspire, entertain and enlighten others, while providing myself with a record of what I was doing, who I was meeting, where I was going at a particular time of my life.
With these goals in mind, I try to stick to the following guidelines:
a. Don't make forward looking statements (also known as tempting fate!)
b. Be respectful towards all
c. Don't reveal confidential information
d. Stay positive, don't comment negatively on things
e. Convey passion and purpose
f. Update frequently
g. Aspire to thought leadership, be an original, be a champion for my beliefs
h. Whenever possible, convey new information drawn directly from my experience or, failing that, deliver informative commentary about some issue on which I am qualified to speak.
I keep a journal as well as blogging, for those things that don't comply with these guidelines, or which are just too personal to share. To be published posthumously!
Some people feel too shy to blog, thinking that their life wouldn't be of interest to anyone besides themselves. What can I say? This may well be true! But even if nobody ever read my blog, I would still feel it was worth writing. Just the thought that someone MAY read it, and the fact that I am putting my life and my thoughts up for public examination, makes me live my life in a better way, makes me live a life that I am proud to share."
Plans are coming together apace for Project STARBOARD (Steve's Trailer And Roz's Boat Off Across Remote Deserts).
But who, you may ask, is Steve?
Steve Roberts is a person I haven't met yet, who for reasons known best to himself has allowed me to talk him into giving up two months of his time and incurring significant depreciation on his new truck (NEWT - New Expensive White Truck) to retrieve my boat Sedna from Miami and drive her 3000 miles to the West Coast.
Apart from ownership of NEWT, Steve has certain other attributes that ideally qualify him for the task of co-driver. He is an adventure cyclist of epic proportions (meaning his cycle ride was of epic proportions, although at 6 foot 4 Steve's proportions are also bordering on the extraordinary). He is a grand master geek, so we have much to discuss about potential enhancements to Sedna's technological infrastructure. And he is a wordplay whizz, which may (or may not!) help those long flat miles across the American Midwest just fly by.
I first contacted him less that 5 weeks ago, after Jim Appleton (the owner of the sculling boat in the Columbia Gorge) mentioned him. Now many emails and several phone calls later, we are about to embark on a major adventure.
We already know we have a lot to discuss. What we don't know is how two independent, free-spirited souls will cope with spending 2 months living in each other's pockets.
We will meet for the first time next Friday, in Washington State. We drive from there diagonally from the far northwest of the States to the far southeast, where (I hope) Sedna will by then be awaiting collection. She is still in Antigua, but is due to ship shortly.
If Steve and I get on well and STARBOARD leads to future collaboration (or in fact, even if it doesn't) I will always wonder at how statistically improbable our meeting was. If Jim hadn't thought to mention 'that cycling guy, think his website is called Microship or something', if I hadn't made a mental note to look it up, if Steve hadn't just happened to have bought a new truck... it makes me mindful of the butterfly effect, that our every tiny action can have untold consequences.
The faith healer I saw last weekend said, 'You have to love yourself, love your body. It's all you've got.'
Yet I constantly bemoan my size. How can I love this body, when to me it looks and feels all wrong? I'm not just talking about how I look compared with supermodels (as my blog the other day showed, even supermodels don't look like supermodels) - I'm just talking about how I look compared with how I looked 6 months ago post-row, or even 12 months ago pre-row.
Last night I found a different perspective. I was deeply immersed in my current book - 'Swimming to Antarctica' by Lynne Cox. She'd been describing how physiological studies had shown that her body type was uniquely suited to doing what she does, i.e. swimming enormous distances in open water that would make 99% of humans hypothermic within minutes.
Her fat is well distributed around her body, which keeps her well insulated in the coldest of waters, especially as her superb fitness and endurance mean that she keeps on generating warmth from within when others would be slowing down and getting chilled as a result.
Plus, she is blessed with neutral buoyancy, which means that she does not have to expend effort in swimming upwards (as most men have to) nor in swimming downwards (as most women have to) - she naturally floats at the ideal depth in relation to the water, so all her energy goes into swimming FORWARDS.
These attributes helped her set a new record (for both men and women) across the English Channel when she was just fifteen. And swim from Chile to Tierra del Fuego. And across the Bering Strait.
After reading about her punishing training schedule and incredible feats of endurance, I was astounded to come across several pages of black and white photos in the middle of the book, showing a tubby-looking woman in a swimsuit.
'She's bigger than me!' I thought. 'But she's amazing, and fit, and strong'. It was a revelation.